Teaching Safe Sex in Utah

Contraceptive pills and condoms on colored background. View from above. Concept of birth control

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Contraceptive pills and condoms on colored background. View from above. Concept of birth control

Autumn Dohm, Opinion Writer

In the typical high school health class in Utah we are taught abstinence. We’re taught the regular topics about the male and female bodies, but we aren’t taught how to perform safe sex. We’re teenagers, young adults if you will, we get into different relationships and sometimes things happen. You can’t prevent your child from having sex 100% of the time in their young lives so why not teach them to do it safely? Even if you don’t approve of it, it’s still okay to teach the safety of it. Teaching kids what to do isn’t advising them that it’s okay to go and have sex with just anyone. It’s telling them that if they want to experiment with their bodies, or not, it’s okay.  You’re telling them that you care. You care that they know this because if they don’t they can get themselves into situations that aren’t ideal, like get an STI or unplanned pregnancy.    

 Along with teaching abstinence which is the majority of what Utah High Schools teach in health class, we should also teach safe sex. This isn’t to influence them to perform this topic, but make sure that if they do end up doing that with someone, they do it safely. While transitioning from kid to young adult and going through puberty they will most likely become curious. Teaching them about it can help them settle their curiosity in a proper manner. Not everyone in Utah is Mormon and even so there are some Mormon teenagers that do have sex.Yet if they are having sex, wouldn’t you want themto  know the safety factors? Even if they’re not having sex, shouldn’t they know how to do it safely? 

Throughout my four years of high school I have taken four years of math class. And even though I know for a fact that I’m not going into the mathematics field as a career I still have to learn about probability and calculus. Will I ever use it in my everyday life? There is a very small chance. Very small. So small a microscope wouldn’t be able to see it. I know I won’t use some types of math in the future, so why do I need to know it? I need to know how to do trigonometry but I can’t know how to have safe sex? Why? Because it might influence us to have sex right now? If that is the majority of reasoning for parents and schools not teaching safe sex, then what are you teaching us that will help us in our future? How are parents going to explain where babies come from to their 18 year old child? Sure, some kids know to use a condom, but other kids who have been sheltered from this kind of discussion don’t even know what a condom is let alone an orgasm 

I suppose it’s understandable for parents to be adamant about this idea. Or for some students to be uncomfortable learning about it. But as human beings, this is something we need to learn. Just like in the sixth grade when we have the “your bodies are changing. Here’s why” talk in school, this is also something we need to learn about our bodies. Some kids most likely have personal questions about the topic that they might not feel comfortable asking their parents about. Being there for their students is one of the most important jobs as a teacher. If kids don’t know how or they feel like they can’t ask their parents or teachers, then they turn to their friends or they turn to the internet. Everyone’s bodies are different, so something for your friend might not feel the same as it does for you. There are safety risks that your child might have to take but they don’t know it. Not to mention the safety risks when having sex with someone of the same gender. These things happening in today’s world, you can’t do anything to prevent it from happening at all, so help prevent health risks that could endanger your children.